Coffee-Channel is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Espresso Powder vs Instant Coffee: What’s the Difference?

Espresso powder vs Instant coffee

Powdered coffee products provide coffee drinkers a fast way to get their caffeine fix in the morning, and the packets are easy to take on the go. Plus, they can be handy for baking and other sweet treats!

They look similar, so what’s the difference between espresso powder and instant coffee? The bottom line is that espresso powder and instant coffee aren’t the same thing. Keep reading to learn all of the differences between these coffee products!

What’s Instant Coffee?

Instant Coffee

Powdered coffee is made from dehydrated ground coffee. It is made by brewing ground coffee, then removing the water to create the powder. It is often spray-dried or freeze-dried. When you’re ready to brew, you simply stir it into hot water. Because instant coffee is so easy to make, it can be a great option for camping or traveling.

Most instant coffee is made from Robusta beans, which tend to have a more bitter taste than Arabica coffee beans. Some brand-name companies or coffee shop brands have instant coffees made of Arabica beans, which surely have a less harsh flavor.

What about caffeine? An 8-ounce cup of instant coffee has an average caffeine range of 27 mg to 173 mg, with the average being 66 mg of caffeine. This is less than a cup of brewed coffee, which averages 112 mg. To adjust the caffeine level, you can add more or less instant coffee to your hot water.

What’s Powdered Espresso?

Espresso Powder

Espresso powder is made the same way that instant coffee is made, but the flavor is different. Espresso is concentrated coffee and the same goes for the powdered version. It has a stronger, often darker flavor than instant coffee. It also tends to be smoother. Instant coffee is considered harsh in comparison. Best of all, espresso powder can give you an instant shot or two of espresso without you having to tamp and pull the shots or wait for a stovetop espresso maker.

Powdered espresso is often made with higher-quality beans, like Arabica blends. Instant espresso has around 58 mg of caffeine, but some brands have higher caffeine content than others. Bakers and pastry chefs often use it in their baked goods and desserts, especially with chocolate.

It isn’t popularly used for drinking and isn’t widely available in grocery stores. However, there are several places online where you can order powdered espresso. Or try making espresso powder at home — we promise it’s easy!

Difference between Espresso Powder and Instant Coffee

What’s Right for You?

If you want a quick caffeine boost at the office, at home, or while you’re traveling, you can use instant coffee or powdered espresso. Which one you should choose depends on your preference. Instant coffee provides a full cup of coffee to sip on, better control regarding how strong your cup of coffee is, and typically more caffeine. Instant espresso is going to have a little less caffeine and a dark, stronger flavor, but will be smoother and less harsh than instant coffee. Whichever you choose, enjoy your coffee on the go!

STILL LOOKING? Here are some other things we recently compared:

Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

Read more

Related posts

Other Categories